I am a bachelor's student currently in my junior year; and I am looking for a graduate program in mathematics, in either UCLA, or UC Berkeley.

However, both websites say they only admit PhD applicants, and no longer master's applications, and this worries me a bit. Does that only mean that the master's applications are closed as of this year, and that they will open again during fall?

I'm just a bit unfamiliar with the American system!

  • 1
    Actually, I think this isn't very common. But you can contact the graduate director at each institution if you need the reasons. It may be a temporary situation, but more likely they just had insufficient demand or insufficient funding.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 19:09
  • I touched up your post a little bit, I would suggest adding a link to UCB! Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 19:32
  • @Buffy From the site: "The Department of Mathematics no longer accepts applications for the Master's in Mathematics Program. If you are interested in graduate study at Cal please apply for the Applied Math or Math PhD program. The MA application is only available to current Ph.D. students at Berkeley interested in a simultaneous MA in Mathematics. " Perhaps it could be a signal of prestige or standing? What do you think? Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 19:34
  • Also, this is very common in research-oriented programs. I do not know the reasons well enough to explain, though. Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 19:37
  • 1
    @GrayLiterature, I think those sorts of places don't need to be much concerned with prestige. My best guess is as I stated in the comment: lack of sufficient demand or lack of funding. Fewer programs implies more intense focus, perhaps.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


Funded masters degrees are getting generally phased out in most fields. They seem to be replaced with unfunded masters' degrees, and/or all students are getting funneled into the funded PhD programs.

The prevailing wisdom (as far as I can tell) is that funding masters students is a waste because as soon as you've trained them to know stuff they leave, unlike a PhD student who you can get a few years of useful work out of. Unfunded programs are great for whacking that international student or trust-fund kid money pinata.

  • Aaaalright, that's peak, but I get it. Thanks.. c:
    – Azur
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 21:45
  • 1
    @Nala Most PhD programs will let you quit after 2 years with a masters degree. If you're interested in the field you could consider doing that and deciding 2 years in if you want to keep going or not.
    – user120011
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 21:50
  • Wait, for real? That could be a move, tbh, if they really do allow you to leave
    – Azur
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 21:52
  • I think getting a MS as part of a doctoral program is usually a bit more work than just quitting. You may need to write a simple thesis or similar. Why would a university want to fund you and the reward you for quitting in the middle.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 22:08
  • 1
    as i've understood it (intrainstitutional standards varying withstanding), a master's degree from the states is usually some sign of a bailed PhD?
    – gagan
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 2:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .